The unfinished poems

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Osho quotes Coleridge: “These poems are the poems of my freedom – existence becoming free through me. These poems will have to wait.”

Samuel Taylor Coleridge

The land of the heart is not the land of arithmetic or logic; it is poetry, it is music. You can enjoy it, but you cannot understand it.

I am reminded of one great English poet, Coleridge.

Although he never completed more than seven poems in his whole life, he still became one of the greatest poets of the English language – because it is not the quantity that counts, it is the quality. When he died he left almost forty thousand incomplete poems.

His whole life, his friends were harassing him continuously:

”You seem to be mad! You have such a treasure. Just a few poems have made you a great poet; if you could produce forty thousand poems of that quality, perhaps in the whole world there would be no competition against you – in the whole history of man, past, present and future. Why do you go on piling up incomplete poems?”

He said, ”You don’t understand; I cannot do it. Unless existence guides me so politely that I don’t feel the guidance, that I don’t feel the push and pull to do it, I am not going to do it. These poems are the poems of my freedom – existence becoming free through me. These poems will have to wait.”

Sometimes a poem was just missing one line and his poet friends said, ”You can compose that line yourself.”

He said, ”It does not work that way. I have tried, but the quality is as distant as the sky is from the earth. I can deceive others, but I cannot deceive myself. I will wait; when existence comes – without forcing me, because I cannot do it under force – and it simply persuades me, encourages me, and I know only afterwards that I have been guided, then only will I complete a poem.”

Once it happened in the London University… the professor who was teaching literature came across a line of Coleridge which he could not make any sense of. And he was a sincere man; he said to his students, ”I cannot give any reasonable explanation for it. And I don’t want to deceive you. Coleridge lives just in my neighbourhood; he is old, but being his neighbour, I am still allowed to see him and meet him. I will go to him and ask him myself what the meaning of this line is.”

He went to Coleridge the next day and asked him. Coleridge looked at the whole poem and he said, ”There is meaning in it. When I wrote it two persons knew the meaning. Now only one knows.”

Hearing him say that only two persons knew the meaning, the professor became afraid: where was he going to find those two persons?

And when Coleridge said, ”Now only one knows,” then the professor became even more afraid. There was only one hope; he said, ”But that one must be you?”

Coleridge said, ”No. When I wrote this I knew it, God knew it. Now, only God knows; I don’t know. It is a beautiful line; alas, I have no way of remembering. In fact, I have not written it.”

His name for existence is God, that’s all – there is no difference. He is saying, “I have not written it. The writing was done by me, but a bigger, vaster energy was persuading me, encouraging me to write it down. I was used as an instrument, a medium.”

Osho, The Transmission of the Lamp – Talks in Uruguay, Ch 4, Q 1 (excerpt)
Read full question in: Spiritual guidance should not be direct
More on S T Coleridge on Osho News

Series compiled by Shanti
All excerpts of this series can be found in: 1001 Tales

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